draws and diagonals Morelli

12 replies. Last post: 2014-10-12

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draws and diagonals
  • The_Burglar at 2014-09-18

    draws :- looking quite likely to happen alot, maybe an offer of a draw button would save time

    diagonals:- once a disc is on a diagonal it can never get off it

    1: start without discs on diagonals

    2:allow a knights move inwards to get off them

  • Richard Moxham at 2014-09-18

    Interesting points, Burglar.  Just a few observations, admittedly with a designer’s bias. 

    Yes, draws can happen at Morelli – which, btw, I consider a plus in a game, not a minus, as long as they’re interesting draws and the incidence is low.  But thus far (and I’m talking about all plays here, not just LG) draws on 9x9 are running at around 5% (which seems reflected at LG too).  At 11x11, negligible: as far as I’m aware, just two draws ever anywhere, including, as it happens, your recent game against Russ.  And at 13x13, again as far as I’m aware ... a still-intact virginity :)

    So I don’t really think – no, I really don’t think -  that Morelli could be said to be drawish, even at 9x9.  (I might add, incidentally, that in my view of things the ‘real’ game is and always has been 13x13.   Until the Boardspace implementation came along, I only ever thought of 9x9, and even 11x11, as, so to speak, stepping-stones to the full rainbow – and I was amazed when 9x9 turned out not to be not that trivial at all.  Amazed, and gratified, except for the unintended consequence that quite a lot of people seem to start with 9x9 and then look no further, which I’m rather sad about. I do hope more players here will explore the (very great) delights of 13x13 once they get used to the game.)

    As for a ‘draw offer’ button, though – well yes, I do think that might make sense, though I hope it wouldn’t lead to too many deals  in situations which needn’t have led to draws at all.

    Finally, the corner cells.  It’s true that pieces can’t escape from a Great Diagonal, but the obvious disadvantage of that is balanced by subtle advantages which gradually reveal themselves with time – notably as a means of escaping zugzwang situations.  These are very numerous at Morelli  (Carroll just ended up losing an epic to you in precisely that way), and the game which you and I have just completed is a perfect example.  I had the Centre, but was in danger of having to dismantle my block against your retaliatory corner square unless  (the only hope) I could freeze the whole diagonal.  So it was a battle between me, fighting to get myself trapped, and you, fighting to stop me.  Talk about role reversal!

    So, in a nutshell, I believe that experience has definitely shown the management of the corners and diagonals to be an integral part of the richness of the game, and I’m as sure as I can be that the sorts of measure you suggest aren’t necessary – because there really isn’t a problem.  I do hope you’ll come to see it that way too. 

  • christian freeling at 2014-09-23

    " I’m as sure as I can be that the sorts of measure you suggest aren’t necessary – because there really isn’t a problem. "
    This observation has a more general nature. If beginning players perceive a problem it is often their problem and not something the game can’t handle. It becomes trickier if one is presented with a new game though, because it might be an intrinsic flaw. From a designers point of view it all starts with trusting the concept and its implementation. This is true for players as well, but they are (or rather ‘should be’, in my view) presented with a finalised version without the benefit of the thought that went into it, and so they may easier lean towards hasty judgement. Trusting or distrusting the game’s inventor may also play a role.

  • Richard Moxham at 2014-09-23

    Hi Christian.  I don’t have a quarrel with any of the above, all of which seems to me straight common sense.  I’m just a little hazy about, as it were, the ‘thrust’ of the contribution.  Are you essentially (mainly?) saying – as indeed I was: “Try living with this thing for a while, and you may find it all works out”? Or something different from that?

  • christian freeling at 2014-09-23

    If a player is new to a game, he initially may find its behaviour questionable in some aspects. In well known games he will find it all works out, but presented with a new game there’s no such guarantee. In the case of tactical games the risk is low because of their low threshold. Strategy games however are riskier because they require an investment before they can offer a return. The return is supposed to be much greater, but from a player’s point of view there’s no guarantee for that. And an inventors' assurances have been known to be not quite reliable. Under these conditions, raising interest in a strategy game is inherently difficult and will usually take a long time. This is a general observation and as such also applicable to Morelli. 

  • Richard Moxham at 2014-09-23

    Christian:  yes, I think I do (and did the first time) understand all these points.  And I’m sure The Burglar does too.  But you still haven’t really answered my question, which I suppose -  to put it a slightly different way – is who you were (primarily) addressing, and how your observations were intended to fit in with what went before?

  • christian freeling at 2014-09-23

    You made a specific comment regarding the diagonals, saying there’s more to them than the obvious limitation. TheBurglar was in the process of remedying “the problem”. I hoped to show this specific mechanism isn’t limited to Morelli but extends to almost all strategy games. It doesn’t show up as prominently in tactical ones because these are usually more or less one-dimensional, however deep they may be.

  • Richard Moxham at 2014-09-23

    Oh, okay.  I guess what threw me off balance was the fact that you didn’t actually mention any specific mechanism.  I assumed you were discussing the (non-technical) issue of acclimatisation to, and acceptance of, an unfamiliar game.  But if we’re talking about the issue of diagonals generally, I think I’d just want to say that they’re influential in Morelli to a degree which seems to me, from a range of knowledge which I freely admit is dwarfed by yours, significantly greater than in some – perhaps even most – other games.  Would you say that was a justifiable claim?  By the way, I don’t adduce it as any sort of ‘evidence’ as to the quality of Morelli – simply as a mechanical fact.  

  • christian freeling at 2014-09-24

    Barring the dwarfing I agree and I’m inclined to consider it a quality issue. Morelli has a peculiar combination of object and mechanics which initially led me to believe it was a tactical game. The nature of the discussions regarding strategy put that belief in doubt. It may turn out to be a true strategy game in which there’s room for different styles of play to collide. It may benefit from that in the long run, but only if it manages to get a sufficiently large player base in which the exchange of ideas regarding strategy can flourish. If that doesn’t happen (either because these differences in strategy can’t be found, or because the player base at large fails to get to the required level of play) it may go the way all tactical games and most strategy games go. Time will tell.

  • The_Burglar at 2014-10-03

    new anti draw idea (maybe still a draw)
    Morelli black hole version
    if the centre square is empty   moves can be made to it      flip any trapped disks as in rules (if a tower is created they win)   but then      the disk is removed (to the black hole {one of them [no sound effects can be heard]} at the centre of the Morelli universe)

  • Ray Garrison ★ at 2014-10-12

    i don’t like how so many pieces tend to get stuck near the end.  But I guess that is the design of the game.  I find myself wishing that I could move a piece into the unoccupied center square and falling through a black hole, this sacrifice move would free up space and thus allow more piece movement. 

  • vstjrt at 2014-10-12

    @Ray: Your opinion is based only on size9 Morelli, when in “standard” size13 stones/squares ratio is considerably lower. You have right this game tend to have rather low mobile pieces, but this is not necessary disadvantage. It’s possible that in high level of play this turn into advantage that give more strategical depth. Philidor once said “The pawns are the soul of chess” and Morelli look someway much “pawn-like” game, that however have some tactical sharpness to not be dull. So I’m rather supporter of this low mobility and Morelli clearly thanks to this have potential to be really good game.

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